Our Impact Why We Exist

The Toronto Lords Believe In:

Access – education & athletics should be available to all, regardless of their financial situation

Success – both education & athetics can be equally important to success in the future, players learn skills & discipline in both areas

Leadership Development – discipline, challenge, commitment, self esteem and working in teams are important leadership skills for the future

Health – conditioning & healthy lifestyles are important components to excellence in sports as well as a healthy mind

Fun – each player needs the opportunity to develop confidence and friendships in a safe environment

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

In 1996, Toronto Lords Basketball began as a small basketball house league. Today, it is a full fledged Ontario Basketball Association (OBA) basketball program that is offered to girls ranging from ages 10 to 18, 80% of which are between the ages of 12-18, that live primarily in low income and at-risk neighborhoods of Toronto. Since it’s beginning, Toronto Lords has opened its doors to about 400 girls. During the 2010/2011 season there are over 140 player participants, 23 volunteer coaches and tutors, and 18 volunteers on the Toronto Lords Advisory Board.

In 2004, Toronto Lords Basketball branched out and formed the Toronto Lords Community Association, a charitable organization whose mandate is to provide a subsidized basketball program and grant scholarships towards post-secondary education to graduates of the basketball program. An advisory board was formed as the main force in fundraising and the allocation of funds into the basketball and scholarship program. The TLCA has awarded over $38,000 in academic scholarships towards post-secondary education to 18 graduates from the program. This year we will proudly give out $9000 to 7 graduating players, and another $5750 held in trust for another 10 undergraduate players.

Accolades and Accomplishments

Access - we have had over 400 girls participate in the program, 76 % stay in the program for 3 or more years

Success - In 2008 the Toronto Lords Community Association was awarded a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation which has enabled the establishment of a tutoring program to all participants of the basketball program. As a result approx 30 players receive tutoring and the average grade improvement is 10%

2009 - Toronto Lords President and Coach Bob Clarke recognized as a finalist in Chunky MVC National Coaching Contest

2009 - Toronto Lords wins Toronto Raptors Esquire Community MVP Award - based on our high level of success in the community and results with At-Risk Youth

2010 - Toronto Lords accepted as first downtown Toronto model for Steve Nash Youth Basketball program from Canada Basketball - serves 75 children and focuses on getting kids involved in sport

2010 - Toronto Lords awarded Bay Street Hoops Youth Basketball Initiative Funding - allows us to continue to keep our fees minimal

2010 – Toronto Lords awarded the Toronto Community Foundation Vital Youth Grant

2011 – Toronto Lords Junior Women’s Team is recognized by Participaction and Sogo Active Canada as a model program for youth in their quarterly newsletter.

Of the 20 players who received academic scholarship funding 8 have graduated from their post-secondary programs and 12 are still enrolled

Our Programs How We Do It

The Toronto Lords Basketball Association is an all-encompassing basketball for youth in downtown Toronto. We offer basketball and life skills through our houseleagues, elite rep teams, tutoring and mentoring programs and scholarship programs to our graduates, and draw players from schools located all across Toronto.

We focus on 3 main areas to make sure our student athletes experience success:

Athletics - Toronto Lords offers programs for both beginning and high level players, regardless of financial circumstance

Education - We run a free tutoring program, available for anyone in our program, and mandatory for anyone achieving below a B average in school

Excellence - Through our scholarship program, we assist our graduates to attend post-secondary school upon graduation, and to date we have a 100% success rate.


Toronto Lords Basketball Association

The Toronto Lords Basketball Association is an all-encompassing basketball for youth in downtown Toronto. We offer basketball and life skills through our houseleagues, elite rep teams, tutoring and mentoring programs and scholarship programs to our graduates, and draw players from schools located all across Toronto.

Our houseleague is open to boys and girls, and we have over 100 players per year come in to begin their introduction to basketball there. From there, many migrate into our elite rep program. This past year there where five teams – a Major Atom (ages 11 and under), a Major Bantam girl's team (ages 12-13), a Midget girl's team (14), a Major Midget team (15) a Junior Women's team (ages 17-19).

The Toronto Lords Basketball Association uses the Canada Basketball Long Term Athlete Development Model, focusing on improving health and wellness of young women aged 10 – 18 who live primarily in low income, at-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto in particular:

- providing access to educational & athletic programming to all, regardless of financial circumstances;

- developing skills and discipline to improve success of players in their future endeavors

- developing leadership skills, self-esteem and discipline; health and wellness, and

- having fun while developing confidence and friendships in a safe and encouraging environment.

The program is offered on a yearly basis starting in September and now, due to expansion of program to include camps and summer league, continues through the summer months.It takes place in downtown Toronto offered primarily from Jarvis Collegiate Institute in the evenings and weekends throughout the school year. 

On the weekends a tutoring program is offered for all of the girls, but those who are struggling to maintain a B average are required to participate. Emphasis is placed not only on success on the basketball court, but also in the classroom. Further emphasis is placed on education through our scholarship program.We take pride in the fact that 100% of graduates from the program going on to post-secondary education, and have awarded these same graduates with over $51 000 in scholarships over the last 7 years.

We also encourage community building, which is demonstrated by the fact that about 20% of our graduates return as volunteers, making up 14 of the 20 volunteers currently in the program. Jeremy Cross, a volunteer coach for the Toronto Lords for the past 4 years states, “The young women in the downtown area are not only provided with a positive and safe place to learn to play basketball but are also provided with an environment where they are enabled to work towards succeeding in all aspects of life.”

Funding and Program Partners

The Toronto Lords currently draws funding  and has established partnerships with: the Trillium Foundation, the Toronto Community Foundation Vital Youth Grant, New Balance Canada, Goodmans LLP, Blakes LLP, Cassels Brock LLP, Canadian Tire Jump Start, and the Elementary Teachers of Toronto.  We work in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kidsport, Basketball Ontario and Albany Avenue Basketball.

Program Impact

Toronto Lords has been created with the idea of sustainability and continuity in mind. We have reached many success targets over the years including:

- Maintaining an average retention rate of 5 years for players

- A steady increase in player interest and participation, with over 150 kids participating in our various programs in the past year

- During the summer months, we were able to run a low-cost basketball camp for over 70 participants over the course of the summer

- An average scholarship award of over $2500 to our graduates for post secondary education

- 100% graduates continue on to post secondary education, showing the strength of our tutoring program and commitment to education.

- In the past 7 years, we have contributed to over 25 of our graduates attending post-secondary institutions, with over $51,000 in scholarship awards 

It is our goal to continue to expand, increasing our overall enrollment in our programs to over 250 kids a year by 2012 all while maintaining our goals of academic and athletic excellence available to all who wish to join.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

Health and Wellness 

- 1/3 of Toronto’s youth are living in poverty

- 38.9% are inactive during leisure time

- Only 5% of children have access to after-school programs

Gap Between Rich and Poor

- University enrollment dropped 1.3%

- 47% of Torontonians are visible minorities, yet only 13% occupy the GTA’s leadership roles

Participant Vignette

My experience in the Toronto Lords program is really fun and entertaining. I have been playing on Lords for 4 years since joining in Grade 6. Being on this team has really made me more sociable, better at basketball and I have built new relationships with kids from all around Toronto. The 3 best thing that I like about Lords is that 1) the games of course, because you have fun on the court and you learn peoples strengths and weaknesses. 2) The team outings when we go to dinner or the year end banquet and just have nice conversations and make jokes about stuff, and 3) the road trips where you have time to talk, play games, talk about your previous basketball games and just make memories.

Toronto Lords is a great way to make new friends learn a lot of basketball skills and most importantly have fun. Here at Lords we are all like one big family because we have been with each other for years and years to come. Toronto Lords is a very good organization because you know when practice is , when you have games and when your other teams have games so you can support them. As well, it prepares me for my future by making me focus on my academics as well as basketball through tutoring and the scholarship program, and makes me think of where I can go to school after high school and how I can give back when I graduate. I am very happy that my grade school coach introduced me to this team, and look forward to my remaining years I am able to play.

By: Cori Browne (Grade 9 Midget team)

What You Can Do

Toronto Lords Basketball Association

Activities a donation will support

A donation to the Toronto Lords Community Association will go directly to supporting the youth in our program, either by providing financial assistance to allow them to participate in the basketball program, or towards their academic success either as support for our tutoring program or for their scholarships they will recieve when they graduate from the program.  For each $3000 invested in our program, we are able to expand our program's full services to 12 new players.  

Donation impact

Potential Sponsors are encouraged to pick one of the following options, which will directly impact the youth in our program:

Sponsor-A-Player - For $250, directly sponsor a player in our program who will be able to overcome any financial obstacles in their way and play basketball for the season.

Sponsor-A-Team - For $2500, sponsor a complete team and allow 12 student athletes full access to our athletic and educational programs.

Finance & Governance

Annual Operating Budget: 
$ 75,000


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